If you are holidaying in Rome, a visit to Sistine Chapel is a must.
The Sistine Chapel, earlier known as Cappella Magna, was restored by Pope Sixtus IV between 1477 and 1480 and is currently named after him.
The topics covered are –
1. Reaching Sistine Chapel
2. Opening hours / mass times
3. Best time to visit
4. Dress code
5. Sistine Chapel tickets
6. Guided tours of Chapel
7. Vatican Sightseeing and Colosseum tour
8. Sistine Chapel ceiling
9. Photography at Chapel
10. What to see?
Where is the Sistine Chapel?
Sistine Chapel is located in Vatican City in the Apostolic Palace which is the official residence of the Pope.
Sistine Chapel is located at the end of Vatican Museums.
How to reach the Sistine Chapel
You can go to the Sistine Chapel only by going through the Vatican Museums.
It will take 30 minutes on foot to reach the Chapel.
The Vatican Museums are located on the northern edge of Vatican City, on the west side of the Tiber River.
Some of the most affordable and easily available options to reach the Vatican Museums are the Subway, the Tram and the Hop-on Hop-off bus tours.
Subway is usually the most convenient option to reach the Vatican Museums (and thus Sistine Chapel).
The A Line has two stations close to the Vatican Museums. The first being Cipro (best for early morning) and the second being Ottaviano (recommended for late mornings or mid-day).
Tram No. 19 can drop you at the St Peter’s stop which is also close to the Vatican City.
However, it is difficult to take the Tram from the city center of Rome.
There are numerous tour bus services that have stops only a few blocks from St. Peter’s Square.
The Vatican and Rome Bus Tours is the only bus tour with ties to the Vatican
Note: It is advisable to keep a map of the city to guide you through the transportation routes.
Sistine Chapel hours
The Sistine Chapel remains open during the following hours
Monday to Saturday: Open from 9 am to 6 pm
Ticket office closes at 4 pm
Last Sunday of each month: Open from 9 am to 2 pm
Ticket office closes at 12.30 pm
The Sistine Chapel remains closed on Sundays [except the last Sunday of every month].
The Chapel also remains closed on the 1st and 6th January, 11th, 19th, 22nd, and 28th February, 29th June, 15th August, 1st November, 8th and 26th December.
Sistine Chapel mass times
The Sistine Chapel does not offer mass service to the public but there are other sites that are open for mass service in the Vatican. St Peter’s Basilica and St Peter’s Square for instance.
The tickets for Mass are free of charge. They are issued a few days before the event. For more information, you can check with the information desks at the Basilica.
St Peters Basilica can seat 15,000 people at a time, however, entry can’t be guaranteed even if you have the tickets for Mass.
This is because Mass service is quite popular with both the locals and the tourists. This is why we recommend you arrive a few hours before the scheduled time for Mass.
How long does Sistine Chapel take?
Due to the rich architecture and history that the Sistine Chapel has to offer, the duration of a tour of this masterpiece depends on how you explore it.
Some tourists are known to be done with their visit in half an hour.
If you are visiting for the first time and want to explore we recommend you keep aside two hours for Sistine Chapel.
If you are an art lover, you can even spend up to four hours admiring the art on display at Sistine Chapel.
Be aware that it takes a half hour to just walk from the entrance through the Vatican Museums to the Sistine Chapel. And the corridors the Vatican Museums and the Chapel are always crowded.
Best time to visit Sistine Chapel
If you are planning a trip to visit the Sistine Chapel, it is best to book advanced tickets online, for a morning slot. You can book your ticket for as early as 8.30 am.
The Vatican Museums as well as the Sistine Chapel are busy at all times and get more crowded as the day progresses.
However, if for some reason you decide to NOT buy online tickets but wait in the queue at the ticketing counter, the best time is any time after 1 pm. That’s when the lines get shorter.
Sistine Chapel dress code
Sistine Chapel has a strict dress code to allow entry in its premises.
While visiting the Sistine Chapel, you have to wear clothes covering your shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.
Therefore, sleeveless or low cut clothing along with shorts, skirts and hats are not allowed.
If you don’t follow the dress code applicable at Sistine Chapel, you will be denied entry even if you are carrying a ticket.
There are plastic cloaks available for purchase for those who aren’t dressed appropriately.
However, wearing such cloaks could be uncomfortable in hot weathers.
Entering Sistine Chapel for free
The Sistine Chapel allows free entry on the last Sunday of each month. But since it is free entry, you must be ready to brave a massive crowd on this day.
The entry is also free on the 27th of September, i.e World Tourism Day.
Note: Sistine Chapel is a highly rated tourist attraction in Rome. We recommend you add it to your itinerary right away.
Sistine Chapel tickets
The tickets to the Sistine Chapel are sold along with the tickets to the Vatican Museum.
Tourists also prefer to combine St Peter’s Basilica along with their visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
These tickets are instantly delivered to your email. At the tourist attraction, you will only have to show the email on your smartphone and walk in. Yes, that’s right, you don’t have to take printouts of the tickets.
It is important to be on time to avoid being denied entry.
1. Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel fast track tickets
This Fast track ticket provides skip the line access to the site. While booking this ticket you will have three choices –
Only the ticket
With this ticket, you skip the line and enter the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.
Adult ticket (19+ years): 28 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 18 years): 14 Euros
Morning entry ticket + Escorted entrance
If you choose this option, besides the tickets you also get escorted inside the Vatican Museums through the fastest entrance available. After that, you can enjoy your visit at your own pace.
You will have to select a time before 12 noon.
Adult ticket (19+ years): 33 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 18 years): 24 Euros
Afternoon entry ticket + Escorted entrance + Audioguide
If you choose this option, you get the tickets to Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums, you get escorted entry and you also get the audio guide.
You will have to select a time after 3 pm.
Adult ticket (19+ years): 40 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 18 years): 33 Euros
Children below the age of 6 years are allowed entry for free with an ID proof.
2. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel ‘Early Access’ ticket
This Early access ticket provides you an opportunity to have skip the line access to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums before the crowds enter.
This ticket allows you entry into Vatican Museums as early as 7.20 am – almost like a private entry.
The tour also includes a DVD of Vatican City which you can take home.
While booking this ticket you have two options –
Price of early access tickets only
Full ticket (8+ years): 50 Euros
Price of early access tickets + Audioguide
Full ticket (8+ years): 62 Euros
Children below the age of 8 years are allowed entry for free with an ID proof.
3. Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica tickets
This early access tour provides skip the line access to the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica with a live tour guide for a duration of two hours.
This tour begins at 7.20 am.
You enter the Vatican Museums, an hour and 15 minutes before the general public and go straight to witness the magnificent Sistine Chapel.
Once the Sistine Chapel is explored, you will be guided to the St Peter’s Basilica through a side access and get to visit the crypts of the Popes beneath the Basilica.
Adult ticket (19+ years): 74 Euros
Child ticket (6-18 years): 69 Euros
Children below the age of 5 years are allowed entry for free.
Important: Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Since it is a group tour, it is not possible to accommodate anyone after departure or refund tickets.
4. Last minute Sistine Chapel tickets
These last-minute tickets allow you priority skip the line access to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. While booking the tickets, you will have to choose your time of entry.
You will be provided with an escort during the entry procedure.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 33 Euros
Child ticket (6-17 years): 23 Euros
Children below the age of 5 years, disabled visitors [74%+] as well as their careers are allowed entry for free.
Sistine Chapel guided tour
Yes, it is possible to book a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel.
However, these guided tours to Sistine Chapel are possible only in combination with Vatican Museums and/or St Peter’s Basilica.
We recommend a three-hour guided tour, which provides skip the line access to the three most magnificent sites in the Vatican City – Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica.
The guided tour is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.
Ticket prices may vary depending on the maximum number of people allowed in the tour [from a maximum of 16 to 32 people] as well as the time of the tour. Save 20% on a special offer.
This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 57.90 Euros
Child ticket (6-17 years): 49.90 Euros
Children below the age of 5 years are allowed entry for free.
*These prices are for the English tour. Prices vary depending on the language of the guided tour and the number of tourists in the group.
Vatican Sightseeing + Colosseum Tour
Tourists usually plan a trip to the Colosseum along with Vatican City because they are two of the biggest attractions in Rome.
This tour provides you with a skip the line access to St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and the Colosseum along with the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
It is a 6.5 hours long tour with a professional guide in the language of your choice.
This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
Full ticket (8+ years): 86 Euros
Child ticket (3-7 years): 68.80 Euros
Children below the age of 2 years are allowed entry for free.
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of the most amazing sights to have emerged from the masterful strokes of Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.
One of the masterpieces of high Renaissance art, the ceiling till this day is a beauty to behold.
The ceiling of Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Julius II and serves as the location of papal conclaves along with many other important services.
The main element central to the ceiling of the Chapel is the depiction of the nine scenes of the Book of Genesis, the Creation of Adam being one of the most iconic representation of God and Man and the moment of creation.
Photos inside Sistine Chapel
No photography or filming is allowed inside the Sistine Chapel under a funding agreement with Nippon Television Network which is a Japanese Corporation that paid for the 9-year restoration project of all artworks and the Sistine Chapel.
This provided the Network with exclusive rights to photography and videography inside the premises.
There are guards placed to ensure nobody clicks photographs inside the Sistine Chapel.
What to see in Sistine Chapel?
Sistine Chapel is one of the most terrific creations of the Renaissance period and stands testament to the genius of the man.
The beautiful artwork of the Sistine Chapel and its magnificent scale makes it a one-of-a-kind site of romance and history.
Some of the highlights of the Sistine Chapel are –
1. The Sistine Chapel ceiling depicting nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, the star attraction is The Creation of Adam, showing the moment of Adam’s creation; The Creation of the World, The Expulsion of Adam and Eve and The Story of Noah.
2. The Last Judgement painted by Michelangelo above the Sistine Chapel Altar depicting Dante’s version of the Last Judgement as in Divine Comedy.
3. The North Wall of the Chapel depicting scenes from the life of Jesus Christ by various artists like Perugino’s The Baptism of Jesus, Botticelli’s The Temptation of Jesus and Rosselli’s The Sermon on the Mount and the iconic The Last Supper.
4. The South Wall of the Chapel depicting scenes from the life of Moses by various artists like Perugino’s Moses’ Journey Through Egypt, Rosselli’s The Ten Commandments, and Luca Signorelli’s Moses’ Final Acts and Death.